My name is Naomi Coffman and my mum spent several years working for an adoption agency in Maryland. Growing up, I heard many stories of the circumstances, which devastate the lives of foster children, many of whom are removed from their homes without warning, sometimes in the middle of the night, carrying few or none of their possessions.
When I was seventeen years old, I learned about My Own Bag and was inspired to start a fundraiser at my school, collecting backpacks and suitcases for foster children, so that they can pack their possessions in something more personal than a trash bag. At the time, most of the High School students were preparing for one of our annual High School trips, a process which often includes buying new suitcases. During one of our weekly chapel services, I announced to the High School that I would be collecting any spare suitcases or backpacks for foster children and asked them to contribute. I admit that I was skeptical; suitcases are a larger, more expensive donation and I didn’t expect to receive many. I was pleasantly surprised. In less than a month, I had raised about twenty five cases and assorted bags, many new and all in pristine condition. What surprised me most of all was the interest exhibited by both students and teachers, once they learned more about the foster care system. I was pleased to offer them all an opportunity to contribute to a cause which so many find so worthy.